Thursday, 25 October 2012

Norton Mandeville, Essex

Other than its setting there is little or nothing of interest at All Saints; the exterior is pleasant enough, but nothing to write home about, while the interior is stripped bare.

ALL SAINTS. Small C12 fragments re-used in the walls and a small fragment of a spiral-carved Norman column with projecting moulding, considered by the Royal Commission to be part of a Pillar Piscina, tell of an earlier church on the site. The present nave and chancel seem C14. The belfry of the C15 (?) rests on a tiebeam with king-posts inside. - FONT. Square, with attached angle columns, of Barnack stone, late C12. - PULPIT. Plain, C18. - SCREEN with plain one-light, ogee-headed divisions. - BENCH-ENDS. With coarsely carved poppy-heads, C16, probably late. - PLATE. Early C17 Cup; Paten and Almsdish given in 1703.

All Saints (2)

NORTON MANDEVILLE. Here, facing a spacious modern farm, is one of the smallest churches in Essex, a Norman church made new 600 years ago, built to hold the hundred people of that time and never enlarged. The Norman stones peep out from the flint walls of the 14th century. The children are still christened at the Norman font, a good one with a round shaft carved out of each corner. It has the staples with which it was padlocked against witches. Round about the font are tiles which have preserved their varied pattern under the feet of 25 generations. The nave keeps its original roof with moulded capitals and bases on the kingposts; the end beams support the 15th century bellcot and from their brackets painted carvings of the lion and the unicorn regard each other disdainfully across the nave. The modern screen has eight heads carved for the old screen by a medieval craftsman, and in the nave are six open benches with poppyheads shaped by a Tudor carpenter.

The manor house stands near Norton Heath a mile away, a beautiful timbered and gabled building, with 1613 on its chimney.

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